Sunday, August 31, 2014

In the thick of it, yet...

It's been a good week.
I feel like I'm adjusting to the meds, therapy has been productive, and I've been spending most of our mornings exploring the woods with my kids.
I've been on my bike a few times and have felt strong (enough), though more cautious/tentative than usual.
On the other hand, I've been a little bit of a recluse other than spending time with my family.
I've been really good at making plans/inviting people over only to cancel or bail almost immediately thereafter.
I'm not feeling like much of a social creature these days, but I know that will pass.
I have moments of extreme numbness, almost a state of depersonalization.
Again, I know it's normal, all things considered, yet it doesn't make it any easier.
I miss my mom immensely.
Sometimes, more so recently, I experience this overwhelming physical sense of loss and homesickness...
I think of my mom and the fact that I'll never see her alive again, never hear her voice, never have her in the passenger seat of my car grooving to whatever song comes up on shuffle, never taste her home made tortillas (mine just don't compare), never have her walk down to the bus stop with me to greet Max after school, never go out for an impromptu breakfast, never enjoy browsing through Anthropologie or having her insist on buying me something cute to wear, never see her beam with pride and delight every time Maeve would lean in for a kiss...
Never never never.
I have all these vivid, amazing memories and I have all these tokens/totems/things that belonged to her, but I don't have her.
I talked to her every day and I still talk to her, but she doesn't talk back...
For that, I'm sad.
I know how lucky I am to have a tirelessly supportive and loving husband.
Healthy children.
A dad who cares deeply.
Countless friends, cousins, family members to lean on.
I know this and quite literally count these blessings every day.
I have no doubt that I'll get through this and the pain will ease over time; however, I am having a hard time understanding everything right now.

Still, it's been a good week and I haven't lost sight of that...
The good.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Good

Last night was the first time I dreamed about my mom since she passed...
It was so nice to hear her voice and be with her.
Today, I had more energy than I've had since the day she died.
Thanks, mom.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

the good and the bad

Yesterday I met two friends at White Clay for a little exploration on our cross bikes...
I'm so thankful to have found my place within a community that shares a common thread; quite simply the love of the ride.
I haven't felt like being on my bike, I haven't found much solace in the act of moving lately...on foot, on two wheels, at all.
I needed to be coaxed out of my funk, if only for a few hours, to move with the power of my own body...
to puzzle out my worries and despair in the woods among the company of good people.
I found myself enjoying and remembering the strength in my legs and my lungs.
It felt good.
I felt good.

Predictably, today, I found myself way back down.
Like, way way back down.
I encouraged Bill to get out for a few hours on his bike, as he's been doing nothing but taking care of me, taking care of us. Tirelessly and without complaint.
"Go ride, I'll be fine."
Moments after he left, I looked at our daughter and thought, "how do I do this?"
We busied ourselves with Sesame Street and Legos and story books.
I can handle that.
I can read The Shape of My Heart and Corduroy's Busy Day all day long.
I felt bad when she grabbed her sandals and headed to the front door, "Side! Side?" {outside}
"Not right's drizzling. Maybe later."
In truth, I usually love to take her out in the rain, but I just didn't have the energy. Or the interest.
I hate being this way when it comes to my kids because I feel like I am ripping them off.

Bill came home, Maeve was no worse for the wear, and I had managed to avoid any tears myself.
Doing this.

This evening, after dinner, I drove to the cemetery alone.
I sat at the foot of my mom's grave and talked to her.
I read "The Owl & The Pussycat," to her (my mom's favorite childhood poem).
I asked her questions and apologized for being a mess.
I pleaded, "please come see me in my dreams sometime..."

Her final resting place is such a serene, beautiful spot.
As I drove away, playing one of her favorite songs in my car with the windows down, a tiny fawn made its way across the path from behind a tree.
Healthy, young, and alive.
It made me smile.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

a breakdown of sorts...

Several months before my mom passed away, I decided it would be in my best interest (and my family's best interest) if I sought help for some feelings of depression that I had been experiencing.
I told my husband that I was thinking of talking to a therapist, that I needed to work through some stuff that had been building...that an inexplicable sadness was overtaking me, overwhelming me.
I am no stranger to these feelings, yet I have always struggled with reaching out for help.
I've become quite "good" at pushing through and sucking it up...
I've become quite good at recognizing depression within myself, yet I've often tricked myself into thinking a series of hard rides or challenging runs or a stint in the yoga studio will absolve me of depression.
While those "tools" are certainly helpful and healthy outlets, those strategies aren't always enough on their own.
I kept putting off seeing a therapist. I continued to ride/run/move...busy myself with my kids...busy myself with tasks and activities.
Then, my mom died and the distractions felt like work.
My kids and my husband were getting the worst of me and I knew it was time to make the dreaded call.
I began seeing a therapist weekly and shortly thereafter began taking a low dose antidepressant under the care of my family doctor.
I felt better knowing I was moving in a healthier direction.
I have limited experience with antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds; I have taken them in the short term over the years and realize they are something I will likely need sometimes throughout my life to pull me out of times like this. When the sadness is bigger than me. When the sadness robs me of things that normally bring me comfort and joy.
I do regret, wholeheartedly, never having talked to my mom about this because she struggled with depression, herself.
The difference is, she never hid it from us.
I was always afraid to share my own struggles with her because I didn't want to burden her.
I didn't want her to consider for one second that it could be remotely her fault in some way, as depression has genetic components and runs in families (and wow, was/is it rampant in her family).
That's ridiculous, right??
I know she wouldn't have judged me, I know she could have offered some insight...we could have commiserated. My mom was such a compassionate, understanding woman...I could talk to her about anything, but was always so afraid of disappointing her (or either of my parents for that matter...remember when it took me nearly six MONTHS to tell them I was getting divorced?? I can almost laugh about that now...)
She would have done anything to help me.
I know that.

I never talked to either of my parents, or really anyone close to me about my anxiety or depression.
I touched on it during bad bouts of insomnia or when I was going through my divorce...but, I never said the word. I never admitted that I was diagnosed or had any treatment.
Part of me was afraid it would be dismissed as me not being able to handle my shit...again, ridiculous, right?
As a parent myself, I want my children to know they don't have to hide anything from me and that if they need help, I will never judge or question it or assume that they just can't cope with rough times.
My sadness, my depression, is not circumstantial or reactionary.
It comes and goes in inexplicable waves; sometimes it hits hardest when everything is in place, when everything is fine.

This time, I happened to be in the midst of it when my mom died...
So, yeah, the timing sucked.
I've been dutifully taking my meds (adjusting to my meds, which is always a challenge) and seeing my therapist.
I'd been feeling productive...functioning.
Then, Sunday night, I had a breakdown of sorts.

I woke up at midnight (per the norm) feeling extremely agitated and anxious (not the norm). 
While I've spent many nights over the past six or so weeks not sleeping through the night, this was a completely different and hopeless feeling.
I felt more panicked and rage-y than I'd ever felt.
I woke Bill and upon describing what I was feeling, it seemed as though I was talking about somebody else.
I felt scared, distrustful, paranoid...
I couldn't discern what was real and what was a dream...
Physically, I was sweating and shaky.
Mostly, I was just frightened and wanted to escape or short, I felt...crazed.
By Monday morning, I wouldn't leave my bed.
I know there were phone calls to my family doctor and my therapist. Much of Sunday night was a blur and I continued to just lay in bed...staring out the window.
Ignoring the sounds of my kids starting their day.
I left my bed to take a bath and use the bathroom and spent the rest of the day and night hiding from my family in my room.

Tuesday night, at the urging of my doctor, Bill took me to see a psychiatrist.
We talked about some background information.
We talked about my "history"...about my family...about my mom's death...about my brother.
"What do you hope to get out of this?"  he asked.
"I just...want to be able to function more fully to better take care of myself and my kids."

I know there is no quick fix.
As we walked out of his office, I couldn't help feeling defeated knowing I would still be the same the next morning. And the morning after that. And so on...
That's the hardest part.
There are times when bad shit happens and I can just put one foot in front of the other, face the day, do what needs to be done...move forward.
This time, it is bigger than me, though.
If I could put one foot in front of the other, face the day, do what needs to be done...move forward...
I would.

I asked Bill, in frustration, "What makes me not able to just get through something without all this 'help', without all these concessions? How come some people don't 'have' this?"
He said, "That's like asking why all people don't look the same."

I've been here before and I'll be here again...
and the best thing to have come out of this is that I don't feel like it's something I need to hide anymore.